Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

intimacy! Bathing in Art Exhibition at the Ahlen Art Museum

The director and artistic manager of the Ahlen Art Museum, Burkhard Leismann, and curator Dr. Martina Padberg are presenting in this exhibit the historical developments, contextual significance, and especially the artistic reflections of the topíc ‘bathing.’ Bathing is a human primal urge. Cultural conceptions of hygiene and cleanliness, but also of beauty, sexuality, and religion, are imparted through these themes of body care and cleanliness. Open January 31 to April 25, 2010.

Gustave Caillebotte
Gustave Caillebotte, “Studie zum Mann, der sich das Bein abtrocknet”, 1884. Öl auf Leinwand, 100 x 125 cm, oil on canvas. Privatsammlung/pricate collection. Foto: Jochen Littkemann, Berlin

In the exhibit, 140 works by 90 artists will be presented, including Stefan Balkenhol, Joseph Beuys, Karl Bohrmann, Pierre Bonnard, Fernando Botero, Louise Bourgeois, Gustave Caillebotte, William N. Copley, Gregory Crewdson, Edgar Degas, Albrecht Dürer, Jean Fautrier, Eric Fischl, Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Xenia Hausner, David Hockney, Mary Kelly, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Édouard Manet, Bettina Rheims, Saul Steinberg, Franz von Stuck, Norbert Tadeusz, and Bill Viola.

The artworks span from the late Middle Ages to contemporary art and come from various countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain, Finland, and the US, from major public collections as well as distinguished private collections. The exhibit will include oil paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photography, videos, and installations.

Famous stories from the bible and ancient mythology are entwined with the motif of bathing, such as “Susanna in the Bath,” the biblical Bathsheba, or the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana, who transformed the hunter Aktaion into a deer and let him be killed by his own pack of dogs after he saw her bathing naked. Moments of forbidden viewing and of secretive discovery play here a central role. Since Durer, profane bathing scenes offered the artist the opportunity to contemplate and depict the otherwise concealed female body. In modern art, artists challenge the present conceptions of beauty and morality. The intimacy of the absent-minded preoccupation with the bathing body leads one to turn inward and allows one to reflect about one’s own transience and mortality. Nudity’s absence of protection has also found its way into the artwork, which visualize the crossing of borders and breaking of taboos.

Water has always served not only as a physical, but also as a spiritual or moral rehabilitation. When submerged in water, the body loses its weight and its contact to the ground. During a baptism, or during the ritual foot or hand washing, one is purified as a physical-spiritual whole. The main idea of such a comprehensive water rehabilitation, which is expressed in the sense of a fountain of youth, has survived to this day in the conception of the modern spa and is also reflected upon artistically.

The exhibition is made possible by the Ahlen company Franz Kaldewei GmbH und Co. KG. Franz Dieter Kaldewei, director of the family-run business, sees his support of the exhibit as a continuation of the social involvement of Kaldewei. “With the exhibit, we are providing in 2010 a cultural highlight for the residents of Ahlen and for the guests of our city. Our company is closely associated with Ahlen and the local region and with this exhibit we would like to contribute to more desirability and quality of life. We are especially proud to be able to support this art exhibit.”

The exhibit is also made possible by the Theodor F. Leifeld Foundation, which supports a vital exchange of art and culture in Ahlen with its major civic involvement.

Accompanying the exhibition, the Wienand Verlag is publishing a comprehensive catalog (German/English) with articles regarding culture and art history, bathing history in Japan and in the Orient, the bath as a crime scene in film, and wellness culture.

Museumsplatz 1, 59227 Ahlen
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Fax 0 23 82 – 91 83 83